MHA: How Did Deku Lose His Arms Against Shigaraki? Will He Get Them Back?

Deku sad in MHA anime

My Hero Academia’s final war arc has been on a roll. Along with some nail-biting encounters, Horikoshi, staying true to his style, has created emotionally resonant fights. Izuku Midoriya’s stand against a hatred filled Shigaraki is no different.

Though Deku finally did manage to break through Shigaraki’s outer shell (fingers, rather) and access his repressed emotions of rejection and pain, the outcome was not one that he wished for. The part of All For One which dwelled within Shigaraki took control of the latter’s body thanks to Deku’s intervention, leaving no trace of the broken villain.

However, that wasn’t the only damage done.

By the time Deku returned from the dreamscape in MHA chapter 419 after his failed attempt to save Shigaraki, he had lost both of his arms. The panel showing the young hero lying helpless on the ground in a pool of his own blood quickly trended on SNS platforms online.

Deku lost his arms in chapter 419

But, since a lot has been happening in the last few chapters, the question naturally arises. How exactly did Deku lose his arms? And no, unlike previous times, this damage was not the result of Deku overusing his quirk.

How did Deku lose his arms?

To answer in short, Deku lost his arms after they were damaged by a young Shigaraki’s decay quirk inside the latter’s subconscious.

Instead of defeating and obliterating Shigaraki in a single blow, Deku chose the harder and harsher path of holding his hand out to his opponent and saving him. Why? Because he saw a vision of a young Shigaraki crying out for help.

However, Shigaraki had buried this vulnerable side deep inside his subconscious. To make his idealistic plan work, Deku needed to delve into Shigaraki’s past and unearth the roots of his villainy. This meant a mental cage match, hero versus villain, all within the twisted landscape of Shigaraki’s subconscious.

The young hero eventually manages to break past Shigaraki’s defenses by bombarding him with the vestiges of the past users of One For All. This mental barrage granted Deku access to Shigaraki’s repressed past, the wellspring of his pain.

Witnessing Shigaraki’s breaking point – the moment his Decay quirk activated – Deku promptly intervened. He tried to stop Shigaraki from killing his sister and his family all over, reaching out with both hands.

Deku uses both his arms to stop Tenko!

Deku hoped that Shigaraki could be saved just like he was saved when others (his friends) held out their hands for him. Unfortunately, young Shigaraki wasn’t exactly giving high fives.

With his quirk already triggered, Deku’s hands met a gruesome fate as he held back Shigaraki, slowly decaying and disintegrating. He might have alleviated the hatred and rage in Shiggy, “saved” him in a way, but by the end, Deku was two arms short of a victory dance.

We see him in chapter 418, armless but resolute, next to a young Tenko.

Deku lost his arms in subconscious realm

But here’s the head-scratcher: Deku was in Shigaraki’s mind, right? How did he physically interfere with a past event? And how did he suffer real-world damage in a dreamscape?

How did Deku take physical damage inside Shigaraki’s subconscious?

One For All and All For One share a mysterious connection. Just like One For All houses a subconscious realm where past users reside, a similar plane might exist within All For One.

The realm, accessed by Deku deep within Shigaraki’s subconscious, could be a reflection of that or something similar. After all, Shigaraki himself wields All For One. Here, his vulnerable core – a volatile mix of anger, hate, and regret – manifested physically.

Chapter 418 confirmed in a way that this was a realm where memories took shape. I feel that Deku’s access and ability to interact with it likely stemmed from the resonance between OFA and AFO, which caused their minds to overlap. Remember the visions and memories?

Similar to how past OFA users interacted freely within One For All, Deku materialized within Shigaraki’s subconscious, able to influence events. Nana Shimura, in chapter 417, explains this as a consequence of Deku being One For All’s successor.

Nana Shimura MHA 417

And because of this, any injuries sustained within this realm would carry over to the physical world – a fact they likely overlooked. Even All For One, upon seizing control of Shigaraki, displayed surprise at the toll the spiritual damage took on his vessel.

Now, when Deku interfered and stopped Shigaraki from killing his sister, he wasn’t changing the past. He aimed to save Shigaraki’s vulnerable core, essentially reforming the villain from within. This feat, within Shigaraki’s own subconscious though, proved no easy task.

Deku, picturing himself physically present, stopped Tenko without hesitation, using his very body. While this might have mitigated Shigaraki’s hatred, it came at a terrible cost – his arms.

Unfortunately, this sacrifice wasn’t enough. All For One, thanks to Deku’s actions creating an opening, seized Shigaraki’s mind, effectively taking over.

Will Deku get his arms back?

It’s a wonder that Deku’s body has not completely broken given what he has gone through in this fight. Every fiber of his being is likely screaming in agony from the sustained injuries against Shigaraki.

However, the situation got worse now that his arms are gone too. Is this the end though?

Well, I am pretty sure we all recall the warnings Deku received in the initial chapters (84) about potential permanent damage to his arms if he recklessly used One For All. In response, he diligently trained his legwork for combat efficiency.

Now that he actually lost his arms, albeit due to Shigaraki’s decay, leg-based fighting style might become his primary strategy moving forward.

Alternatively, depending on whether Deku still has the quirk factors of the previous users, particularly Banjo, he might be able to use Black Whip to construct makeshift arms in order to see through the fight.

While Kudo formulated the plan of forcibly transferring quirk factors of One For All to Shigaraki, he had specifically instructed Daigoro Banjo to stay back. However, once Deku entered Shigaraki’s subconscious, Nana Shimura was the only one left behind as a vestige inside Deku as seen in chapter 417.

If Banjo and his Black Whip are gone, then possibility of arm reconstruction through Quirk usage is very slim.

The third, and perhaps most intriguing, outcome hinges on Shigaraki himself. Chapter 419 hinted at a crude version of Overhaul’s Quirk being bestowed upon him. Theoretically, Shigaraki could potentially reassemble Deku’s arms.

However, there are some drawbacks in this assumption too.

Firstly, Shigaraki’s spirit seems to have been shattered by All For One’s. While a faint cry in Chapter 419 suggests a sliver of his will remains, regaining control or activating Overhaul’s reconstructive abilities is uncertain.

Why? Because while granting the quirk factor to Shigaraki, AFO made sure to meticulously filter everything out, and only bestow the destructive aspect of Overhaul’s quirk to him. However, shonen tropes are known for their surprising turns, so I wouldn’t completely disregard this possibility.

Should Deku persevere using his legs alone, advanced prosthetics could become a future reality. This option seems most likely, considering Mei Hatsume’s appearance in earlier chapters. Perhaps Horikoshi is laying the groundwork for a technologically-aided upgrade.

Deku scissorarms?

What are your thoughts on Deku losing his arms? Let me know them in comments below!

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